FEBRUARY  2002




FEBRUARY 2002 Contents


 Ageing - breaking mind barriers!

 'My Secret of Longevity' 
 BC Sanyal
 HD Shourie
 Khushwant Singh
 Raunaq Singh
 MS Oberoi

 Ageing & Performing Artists


 New Age Women Writers

 Performing Arts

 The Kuchipudi Reddy Family


 South Asians in News 2001 
 International Recognition and
 National Awards

Magsaysay Awards

Newsmakers & breakers in

Golf, Tennis, Hockey, Squash


 Know Your Leaders
 Arun Jaitley
 Amar Singh
 Abhishek Singhvi
 Omar Abdullah
 Sitaram Yechuri



 Mango - the King of Fruits


 Abdul Sattar Edhi


 Sunita Sharma - India's First  
 Lady Guru of Cricket


 'Knock at Every Alien Door'
 - Serialization of an
 unpublished novel by
 Joseph Harris - Chapter 2


 Vasundhara Das - the bride of
 'Monsoon Wedding' 

 Fashion & Jewellery

 Poonam Soni- new look to gold


 Editor's Note



the craft shop

the print gallery


Silk Road on Wheels

The Road to Freedom

Enduring Spirit

Parsis-Zoroastrians of

The Moonlight Garden

Contemporary Art in Bangladesh



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Anniversary Issue

South Asian Woman


                           craft shop

print gallery



Vasundhra Das – Y2K’s First Singing-Star


Sanjeeb Mukherjee

vasundhra.jpg (37248 bytes)

Vasundhra’s prodigious talent was noticed in Hey Ram where she starred opposite Kamal Hassan. Now, even after the rave reviews she has got for Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding where she plays the all-important bride Aditi, singing continues to Vasundhra Das’ first love…..


There have been few instances of female singer-actresses in the south Asian film industry. Noor Jahan and Suraiya were two such icons from yesteryear – and now Vasundhra Das. She was a singer long before she starred in Kamal Hassan’s Hey Ram, and more recently as the bride in Mira Nair’s ‘Monsoon Wedding’. Apart from being a talented actress Vasundhra is an equally gifted singer.

Vasundhra’s prodigious talent was noticed in her very first film Hey Ram where she starred opposite Kamal Hassan. At that time very few people knew that apart from being a talented actress Vasundhra was an equally gifted singer.

She began her journey to success from Chennai where she went to learn classical music. Even as she was making a name for herself as an exceptional singer, she got a surprise call from none other than Kamal Hassan to play the lead role in his much talked about film, Hey Ram.

For a girl who had always dreamt of becoming a famous classical singer, it was an opportunity she was not prepared for. Today, even after the moderate success of Hey Ram, the super success of her latest Tamil film Citizen and the critically rave reviews she has got for Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding where she plays the all-important bride Aditi, singing continues to be Vasundhra’s first love. She has had three super hit songs this year---the English voice in Ori Chori in Lagaan, the foot-stomping Rabba Rabba number in Aks and Shakalaka Baby from Nayak’. Though all these three songs have put her in the category of the most in-demand singers in Mumbai, Vasundhra is very disappointed with the results of her first solo album, Meri Jaan. But the setback has not disheartened her. She has embarked on another ambitious album which she refuses to disclose or discuss.

"I think the problem with the first album was promotion. We failed to market it properly that’s why it could not create any impression on the minds of listeners," she says.

Though an out-and-out Iyengar girl ,Vasundhra is surprisingly comfortable with North Indian languages as well. She glided through the lingua of a Punjabi Girl with ease, in Monsoon Wedding. Says Vasundhra, " I was born and brought-up in a cosmopoliton city like Bangalore, so it was not as if the whole idea of a Punjabi wedding was alien to me. But yes, I did have to work a bit on understanding the intricacies and nuances of the culture."

There was a workshop held prior to the original shooting by co-star, Naseeruddin Shah that she says helped her a lot in understanding the real Punjabi culture. " Ideally I like to go under the skin of the character I am playing to do justice to the role," says Vasundhra. She is quick to say that being in offbeat films in no way implies that she would not be accepting glamorous role offers in Hindi films. But, she says, " I don’t mind doing a glamorous role as long as it has some substance in it. I will definitely not be a wallflower in any film. "
















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